As someone who has had the privilege of recently enjoying the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, I figured I would write a little about Gian Carlo Menotti who passed away yesterday.
Gian Carlo Menotti was born in Cadegliano-Viconago, Italy on July 7th, 1911. Menotti began writing songs when he was only 7 years old. He wrote a full opera, The Death of Pierrot, including the libretto, when he was only 11! He began formal training in 1923 at the Verdi Conservatory in Milan.
After his father died, Menotti came to America with his mother where he enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia alongside fellow students such as Leonard Bernstein and his future partner, Samuel Barber. Menotti would later go on to teach at Curtis, also.
While at Curtis, Menotti wrote his first mature opera among the many to follow called Amelia goes to the Ball to his own text. He wrote the libretti for all his operas. His first full-length opera, The Consul, was premiered in 1950. For this work, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in music.
In 1951, he wrote his most popular work today, Ahmal and the Night Visitors. It is still a tradition at Christmastime. It was the first opera written specifically for television.
Menotti founded the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy in 1958. He would later go on to found its counterpart here in the United States, Spoleto Festival USA, in Charleston, SC in 1977. In 1993, Menotti took the top post at the Rome Opera. He passed away Thursday, February 1st, 2007, in Monte Carlo with family at his side.
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